With Relaunch of Bipartisan Food Recovery Caucus, Pingree and Newhouse Lead Congressional Push to Reduce Food Waste
U.S. Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) today marked National Food Waste Prevention Week by relaunching the Congressional Food Recovery Caucus. This bipartisan caucus, co-founded by Pingree in 2018, aims to promote food waste reduction across the food supply chain, provide educational opportunities to congressional members and staff, support efforts to reduce food waste at federal agencies, and collaborate with diverse stakeholders to highlight food recovery success stories.
“It’s unthinkable that perfectly good food is being thrown out when 34 million Americans are food insecure. The staggering amount of food waste in this country is not only costly for families, businesses, and farmers, but also has a huge environmental impact,” said Congresswoman Pingree. “The bipartisan Food Recovery Caucus works to bring commonsense solutions for reducing food waste and fighting hunger into the spotlight, so we can ensure food is ending up in stomachs—not in landfills. As co-founder and co-chair of the caucus, I have spearheaded a number of food waste initiatives in Congress, and I am eager to continue that work alongside Congressman Newhouse in this important Farm Bill year.”
“Each year, over 40% of the food in the United States goes to waste, which equates to 130 billion meals,” said Congressman Newhouse. “I am proud to once again be co-chair of the Food Recovery Caucus to continue supporting important reforms that will reduce food loss and ensure our students have access to healthy food that American famers and ranchers work so hard to provide.”
“Food loss and waste remains a major challenge in the U.S., despite the overwhelming benefits that solutions to the problem would have for our environment, food access, and the economy. Recent actions in Congress demonstrate the strong potential for robust change on this bi-partisan issue, and there is no better time to leverage that potential than now,” said Emily Broad Leib, Director of the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic. “We are thrilled that Representatives Pingree and Newhouse are capitalizing on this moment. Re-launching the Food Recovery Caucus is a meaningful way to ramp up education and opportunities to advance solutions that can help prevent, recover, recycle, and coordinate action on food loss and waste.”
“Reducing food waste has significant benefits for our communities, climate, environment, and economy,” said Yvette Cabrera, Director of Food Waste for NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). “The re-launching of the Food Recovery Caucus will increase collaboration, coordination, and action within the federal government to reach our national goal of reducing food waste 50% by 2030. We thank Representatives Pingree and Newhouse for their leadership and look forward to working together to stop wasting food.”
“Today’s renewal of the bipartisan Food Recovery Caucus is the type of work we need to see to tackle the issue of food waste. In the US alone, 30 to 40 percent of our food supply is wasted. This translates into wasting all the resources that went into producing, transporting, and disposing of the food, as well as generating significant and unnecessary methane emissions in landfills,” said Pete Pearson, Senior Director of Food Waste, World Wildlife Fund. "We don't grow food to simply throw it away. We need common sense solutions to ensure surplus food doesn't go to waste, and WWF looks forward to working with the Food Recovery Caucus to make this a reality."
"Everyone knows that wasting food is bad, but the good news is that it's a solvable problem. That's why I'm excited to hear about the re-launch of the Food Recovery Caucus. Food waste solutions exist, and the Food Recovery Caucus can use their national platform to help drive the food system to start implementing them at scale. It's a win for the environment, the economy, and our fellow Americans struggling with food insecurity,” said Dana Gunders, Executive Director of ReFED.
In 2018, Pingree launched Congress’s first-ever Bipartisan Food Recovery Caucus. The 2018 Farm Bill included Pingree’s provisions to create the first full-time food loss and waste liaison at USDA, a composting and food waste reduction pilot program, and the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) to reduce on-farm waste.
Many of Pingree’s food waste initiatives were included in the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis's first-ever comprehensive report on climate change, such as the School Food Recovery Act, the Food Date Labeling Act, the Kids Eat Local Act, the Food Recovery Act, and the Agriculture Resilience Act.
Click here to learn more about Pingree’s efforts to reduce food waste.